Diversity, equity and inclusion: three words we've become a lot more familiar with since the social justice movement of 2020. The majority of creative briefs we receive, talk very candidly about the need to diversify sets. It’s an initiative we support fully and are excited to see more and more brands champion. But diversity is just one part of the equation. What about the equity and the inclusion portions of the equation?
We created a mentorship program as a way to offer exposure and knowledge to underrepresented BIPOC artists. We dive deep into the business of photography - how to build an estimate, how to prep for a creative call, how to build a treatment, create a promotional calendar, in addition to education around the terms and conditions commonly found within a contract. This way the AMP mentees know what they are signing upon completing the course.
In the second year of the mentorship program, we’ve thought a lot about equity and inclusion in hopes of really pushing these two words to be a larger part of the current conversation. There are business practices in our industry that are a hard pill for anyone to swallow. Like usage contracts that don’t allow you to display the creative work an artist creates for a brand. Or, not being able to use commissions for self promotion, which means that you are always having to pay to create test work. Without financial support to do so, how does someone further their career? These sorts of policies by advertisers hurt the diverse in our community the most. It makes the barrier of entry all that more costly.
Additionally, this year we offered monetary and production support to help create their editorial concepts. We recognize how hard it is, from a time and money standpoint to create new work. Our hope is to lessen that burden as the mentees create the stories you see exhibited here. We’re not looking for a pat on the back for doing this. We call it out so that we can all stop and think about the challenges and barriers to entry into this business. We bring attention to this, to remind us all to consider the challenges and barriers associated with entering into this business.
In addition to this, we’ve recently launched a shadowing program for the mentees, offering paid, on set opportunities for them to learn from our roster of artists. seThis allows the mentees to take advantage of our photographers vast knowledge and learn first hand how to manage client feedback and direct crew and talent on set. All of this in hopes to build their confidence for managing their own sets.
This is still just the start. We’re committed to the work of increasing diversity on our sets and on our roster. Our desire is to keep learning, growing and understanding. As we learn and grow, we’re excited to share the work from our amazing AMP class of 2021. They are exceptional image makers and the future of our industry.
- Kelly Montez, Owner, Apostrophe
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